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Independents' Day

GP marketing campaign is reducing GPs to the role of pen pushers

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Sometimes – just sometimes – I feel health education leaders cannot win in their attempts to recruit GPs.

Government lack of funding means that GPs’ pay and conditions continue to get worse and, in such an environment, attracting people to join general practice is a tough job.

So, with the limited amount of money they have, there is only so much they can do.

The ten-point plan was typical of this. Within its limited remit, Health Education England’s proposals could be seen as sensible. Without the power to cut bureaucracy, increase pay and reduce the stress, there was little more they could do.

A marketing campaign to extol the virtues of general practice seemed obvious, even if the prevailing head winds are against them.

However, having made the decision to run with it, they have made a massive own goal.

The new video, featuring a cancer survivor skydiving, reduces the role of a GP to a hand signing a consent form.

Yep, highlighting the paperwork – that many would argue GPs should not have to do - will certainly get people signing up.

Surely the heart of the job is being a supporter and guide through their patient’s illness. From diagnosis to all-clear. Through good times and bad. Not simply being a pen-pusher.

If they were set on this story – and there is no reason not to be - we could have seen the GP telling the patient there is no reason their cancer will come back, or that there is no reason they can’t have children, etc.

Of course, they may do this in future videos. But it is hardly off to a great start.

Jaimie Kaffash is news editor of Pulse

Readers' comments (13)

  • Perhaps they should use an episode of The Real Peak Practice which shows the empathetic and compassionate role we have.....unfortunately mixed in with the dross like signing forms.....

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  • There's an art to being a GP;
    As launched by RCGP alongside the #nothinggeneral campaign

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  • The Australian Ad from RACGP probably more appropriate

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  • The campaign is beneath satire and incredibly naive and so stupid it will encourage doctors who are intelligent to not apply
    Yet yet yet another illustration of the profound incompetence of nhs England who live in a little delusion of their own making
    It is at the same level as a *unt emanation

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  • A very tragic case highlighting the risks of triage in this age group. This is mainly a failure of NHS 111 but unfortunately the headlines on newspapers and the bbc have GPs highlighted first as responsible. The key here is that triage/ telephone consultations should not be used in acute illness in this age group. Yes, it's fine for a nappy rash, a bit of thrush etc but these children under 2 need to be seen if you don't want this to happen again. This needs experienced manpower in the form of GPs or paediatric trained nurses both of which the NHS currently cannot afford. There also needs to be more awareness of sepsis and recognition of the Ill child among healthcare professionals. But I don't think algorithms are the answer. Some IT clinical systems pop up a tool which is next to useless and over calculates risk. If such tools were mandated as may become likely as a response to this tragedy then secondary care will be overwhelmed.This would be counterproductive. What's needed is experienced staff seeing patient's and making a judgement. It's also worth noting that that judgement is a snapshot at that particular time and parents also need educating in recognition of sepsis as sepsis can develop very rapidly in an otherwise well looking child eg meningococcal septicaemia. Teaching better parental judgement and use of healthcare cannot be understated. Despite all this there will be still be some cases of sepsis which present in an otherwise well child fulminantly. It's sad to say that the real blame for this tragedy lies with the last and current government who have failed to listen to the profession on the use of a layperson lead triage service.

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  • Apoligies as this is not really related to this but I would like to call 111 to complain about the conservative MP who slandered all junior doctors by saying they did not want to work in Wales because of the poor schools.... Increadible what the government is doing...

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  • Bob Hodges

    "the conservative MP who slandered all junior doctors by saying they did not want to work in Wales because of the poor schools"

    Saying that would be diagnostic of being 'a bit of a twat'.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Mr Hunt said: "When you look at the totality of what the Mead family suffered, there is a confusion in the public mind which the NHS needs to address.
    "The issue is that there are too many choices and you can't always get through quickly to the help you need. We need to improve the simplicity of the system so when you go to 111 you aren't asked a barrage of questions and you get the care you need more quickly."

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  • Mr hunt said some b******t which made little sense but sounded good especially for a system he created and endorsed in the first place.

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  • Abdul QADRI

    Frankly speaking when Govt introduced Non Medical staff to answer 111 Operators in 2013 , this kind of disaster was waiting to happen. Besides Prescribing bosses are always watching the antibiotic usage & Gps are under constant pressure to reduce the referrals to the A/E. There is too much interference by the NHS bosses and they make mockery of qualified Clinicians. children & elderly are most at risk if appropriate treatment is not initiated in time. In the last 32 years of practice , I have prescribed antibiotics on odd occasions as a precaution if child looks unwell or mother is requesting for it since she is concerned about the welfare of the child. Let us hope that this tragedy result in the meaningful changes in the system. Ideally Clinicians must attend the 111 calls & they should be fear free to refer the most sick patients to the A/E.

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